Building a trustworthy and reputable brand does not happen overnight — it takes time! You may even spend many years trying to create a strong brand image for your company; but as soon as something goes wrong, the brand image you’ve invested all your hard work and energy into creating can start to crumble in front of your very eyes
The sad reality is that even if you do have all the “right” precautions in place, it’s not always possible to steer clear of a crisis. Things that are outside of your control can happen; so you really need to be ready for anything.
If you’ve gone through a crisis (or you just want to make sure you’re somewhat prepared if one happens) there are a few things you can do to assist in preventing your brand rep from taking too big of a blow.
Apologizing for whatever happened is always a great place to start — but depending on what exactly occured, an apology may not quite cut it. You’ll have to do whatever you can to put your customer or audience relationships back on track again.
Getting back in your customers’ good books will undoubtedly involve some investment. You can do things like offering free services or discount codes, but you’ll probably need to do a little more than just a once off deal.
When something goes wrong, you’ll probably hope that it might just blow over. As great as this would be, it’s not often the case. Your customers will not just ignore or forget about whatever happened — they’ll be waiting for you to take action!
Always be up and ready to act fast. Your goal is to get a message out there regarding what happened, what went wrong, and the steps you’re taking to rectify things. If it’s a possibility for you, get it out there within 1 to 2 days!
All the people on your team need to be in the loop, and they need to actively be on board with your plan of action towards improving your brand reputation. Organize a full team meeting to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Let them know that they can come to you with any questions they might need to ask or any conversations they might want to have. Never forget that your brand reputation management is an entire team effort!
If your followers, customers, or even people completely unassociated with your brand begin to talk about you or your business on social media, it’s all too easy to get on the defensive. It may trigger you to want to start fighting back and defending your reputation.
Unfortunately, this is not of much help. It may feel empowering to you in the moment, but the truth is that it can actually damage your brand reputation even more. Alternatively, make sure that you pick your arguments wisely — message them privately and offer to talk an issue out offline, or encourage your unhappy customers to connect with you through your designated customer service platforms.
If you, or anyone in your company, have made a mistake — take full responsibility for it. When something doesn’t go as planned, your customers don’t want to be met with excuses or watch you put the blame on something or someone else — all they want to hear is exactly what happened.
Admit the things you could have done better in order to prevent such a crisis from having happened in the first place. Apologize for what went wrong, and let your audience know what you’re doing to prevent it from recurring in the future.
Fact: reputations stick. When you have a strong reputation, it can be amazing; but when you have a bad reputation, it can be really hard to remove the stigma. Understand that endeavoring to turn your image around will take time.
Draw up a plan for the short- or long-term — for the week, or maybe even the year. Be realistic about all damage that might have been done, as well as all the things you need to do to repair it — regardless of how long it could take.
Everyone hopes that a company crisis will never be something they have to go through; but that’s essentially just wishful thinking. Any issue — big or small — is always at risk of popping up; so it’s crucial to know exactly what to do when something goes wrong.
The tips above can help get you on track to managing your brand reputation; but you should always be aware of adjusting things to suit your specific situation wherever necessary.
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